Jamaican exchange student brings her research to UWaterloo

Alexis SamuelsAlexis Samuels is a 2015-16 recipient of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas (ELAP) scholarship. The award – managed by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development – provides funding to some of the top students from Latin America and the Caribbean to conduct an academic exchange in Canada.

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of West Indies, Alexis enrolled in its master's program in English Literature. From there, she learned about the ELAP scholarship and jumped at the chance to take her learning abroad.Alexis wanted to do her exchange at UWaterloo due to its strong reputation for innovation and extensive library holdings. She was also excited to work with Professor Heather Smyth, whose scholarship looks at the feminist, postcolonial, diasporic and multicultural aspects of women’s writing.

During her stay in Canada, Alexis is working on her thesis entitled – The Triad of Gender Performance in African Diaspora Women’s Fiction.

My research will investigate the depiction of the post-colonial/post-independence subject faced with the task of negotiating between traditional and modern gender performances and counter-performances.

Alexis enjoys the diversity of the student population at UWaterloo, which has exposed her to new perspectives.

What I like about the University of Waterloo is the cultural diversity, there are students from different cultures, open to showing you a new way to look at life or appreciate something different from what you’re used to.

She also appreciates the culture of women riding bikes on campus.

I love the gender-neutral biking culture here; you can see girls riding bicycles on and off campus, it’s not the same in Jamaica. Whenever I ride my bicycle in my neighbourhood, people would laugh or stare as if it’s something strange.

While at UWaterloo, Alexis aims to balance her academics with other aspects of campus life. She is excited to take part in campus events, and  explore entertainment and nightlife around Kitchener-Waterloo.

Working hard does not necessarily mean pulling all-nighters and missing out on social life!

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